Your website’s ability to attract new patients online rests largely on its visibility to people searching for local services through search engines like Google or Bing. If your website is buried under pages of results for searches related to your services, chances are you aren’t getting the volume of new inquiries that the Internet can provide.
This is where search engine optimization (SEO) becomes imperative and is the defining quality between businesses ready to make the online marketplace work for them and those that are content to ignore the promise of online traffic. The former see the writing on the wall: people are going online to find the products and services they need — no matter their age.
Just look at the fastest growing demographic on social media these days: Baby Boomers. But they’re not just on social media. They’re looking up conditions they’re dealing with and researching their best options. They’re reading (and writing) online reviews. And they’re finding most of these things via a tool many of us have come to take for granted: search engines.
Search engines can literally make or break your business’s popularity online simply by where they rank you in the results of relevant searches. It’s why marketers and business owners alike hold their breath each time Google announces a major update to its search algorithms. One swift update could mean the end of your first-page placement and a serious blow to your website’s traffic. However, despite the ever-evolving nature of these algorithms, a few factors remain unchanged and consistently important for your website’s visibility online. One of these factors is the number of links to and from your website.
Search engines look at links to your websites as votes in its favor. The more popular and important a website is, the more links to it from other sites. Thus, one of the most reliable and important approaches to improving SEO for your website is to gain links to it from credible websites — otherwise known as “link building.”
A quick online search about link-building can easily become overwhelming. Truth be told, it’s more of an art than a science. Link building requires you to create relationships with other websites and companies while also trying to establish a certain amount of authority in your field. It can quickly feel like a catch-22 as popularity is often needed in order to build more. But luckily, there are still plenty of ways to increase the number of links to your website and improve its visibility in the process.
As a healthcare professional, one of the most effective ways to gain links back to your website is by creating helpful content and guest blogging on other websites. Excellent content on your own website can naturally invite other websites to link to it, as a resource for their own content or simply as recommended reading for their visitors. Helpful content is also more likely to be shared by readers on their preferred social networks, like Facebook.
Guest blogging helps to establish your authority on various hearing healthcare topics and gain a link back to your own website in the “about the author” section (which most websites offer). It’s important to only seek out credible websites for guest blogging opportunities — not spammy websites with questionable links to and from it. Search engines penalize websites with spam on them by ranking them lower, and any websites linked by such sites are considered as likely spam sites as well. A general rule to follow is that the more popular and authoritative a website is (such as healthyhearing.com or hearingreview.com), the more a link from it will boost your own website’s ranking by search engines.
Consider the tips below for getting more attention online through smart link-building:
Keep It Related
Search engines rank your website higher in results when you have links from other, related websites. Thus, as a hearing healthcare professional, having links to your website from other websites in the hearing industry is advised.
Word It Right
One of the strongest signals search engines use in ranking is your “anchor text” for each link to your website. Anchor text refers to the words that are hyperlinked to a given page on your website. For instance, we touched on the importance of anchor text in our blog about using keywords to improve your website’s SEO — and the anchor text here is now hyperlinked to the related article. Notice how we included important keywords like “keywords” and “SEO” in the anchor text itself? If several links back to your website all include similar keywords that you want to be associated with your website (e.g. hearing loss, Denver, hearing aids, etc), then search engines will begin ranking your website much higher when those keywords are searched for online.
One of the most time-tested ways for building high-quality links to your website is to gain media attention. A significant giveaway or well-publicized charity offering can help put your business in the local spotlight and gain your website some important SEO-boosting links in the process.
Search engines don’t treat links to your website from social sharing websites the same as links from other websites. The nature of social networks is to be flooded with external links, as people share whatever they like, and the links to your website from them aren’t as big of a boost to your ranking. However, they do still matter and they tend to make an impact in aggregate, rather than individually. The point here is simple: share your content on your social networks and try to get your friends to like and share it as well. Every little bit helps.
Keep It Up
The strength that external links have for boosting your website’s overall ranking tends to dissipate over time, so it’s important to continue to establish new links. Known as “FreshRank,” search engines factor in the freshness of any link to your website to determine its weight in your ranking. This is where professional SEO companies become quite useful, as they continuously evaluate your ranking and the factors needed to keep your website seen. Short of hiring professionals, however, is to create an ongoing routine of writing fresh content and establishing new connections with other, related websites online.
As you begin to build external links back to your own website, keep in mind that link building is not an overnight win, but instead a worthwhile investment that will pay you back in online traffic over time. By creating consistent content and gradually expanding your network online, you can realize the payoff that better ranking provides.
As SEO experts with over 20 years of experience in the hearing industry, we know how busy our clients are and how important it is that their services get found online. It’s why they’ve chosen us to improve their online visibility and increase their new patient inquiries. If you’re ready to capture more attention online — and more patients in-office — contact us today.